Sunday, September 9, 2012

No China-Philippines talks at summit: Official

LADIVOSTOK, Russia (AFP) - The Philippine president failed to meet with China's head of state at a regional summit on Sunday, Manila's foreign secretary said, amid deep tensions over a maritime row. The two sides tried to arrange talks between the Philippines' Benigno Aquino and China's Hu Jintao at a two-day Asia-Pacific leaders' meeting in the Russian Far East port of Vladivostok, but ran out of time, Mr Albert del Rosario said. "It just came to a scheduling challenge, but as you can see the scheduling challenge turned out to be a bigger challenge than we anticipated," he said. Mr Aquino's aides had said beforehand that a meeting with Mr Hu was his top priority for the summit. China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, which is believed to hold vast amounts of oil and gas, is a rich fishing ground and is home to shipping lanes vital to global trade. But the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also make claims on the sea, some of them overlapping, and Manila and Hanoi accuse Beijing of a campaign of intimidation to press its claims.